Pope Francis, archbishop of Canterbury to commission bishops for joint mission and witness

Posted Jan 19, 2024

[Anglican Communion Office] Meeting during the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, bishops from the Anglican and Roman Catholic traditions will be gathering for Growing Together, a weeklong summit for ecumenical discussion and pilgrimage in Rome and Canterbury between Jan. 22 and 29.

The bishops will come in pairs — Anglican and Catholic — representing different countries from around the world. More than 50 bishops are participating, from 27 countries.

Visiting holy sites in both Rome and Canterbury, the bishops will pray, reflect and learn from one another. The aim is to discuss ways of growing together in joint witness and mission in the world.

On Jan. 25, near the tomb of the Apostle Paul, Pope Francis and the Most Rev. Justin Welby, archbishop of Canterbury, will commission the bishops, sending them out in pairs, to be witnesses to Christian unity. This will be a significant moment, symbolic for Anglican-Catholic bonds and advancing ecumenical dialogue.

The summit is organized by the International Anglican-Roman Catholic Commission for Unity and Mission (IARCCUM). IARCCUM is an official commission of the Anglican Communion and the Catholic Church, established to ecumenical dialogue between the traditions.

Alongside daily discussions, the bishops will make visits to the following sites:

In Rome

Jan. 23: St Peter’s Basilica for a tour and a service of Anglican Choral Evensong.

Jan. 25: Bishops visit the church of San Bartolomeo, where the archbishop of Canterbury will preside and preach at a sung Anglican Eucharist; commissioning of the bishops by the archbishop of Canterbury and Pope Francis at the tomb of the Apostle Paul (Basilica of St Paul Outside The Walls).

Jan. 26: Visit to the church of San Gregorio al Celio, from which the first archbishop of Canterbury was sent to England by Pope Gregory the Great in 597.

In Canterbury

Jan. 28: Bishops will take part in Choral Eucharist at Canterbury Cathedral, where the Catholic Bishop of Hong Kong, Cardinal Stephen Chow, will preach. There will be discussions on a joint statement about the future work of IARCCUM/ongoing dialogue.